Is Your Cat Ready for Toilet Training? Here's 5 Ways You Can Tell

Is Your Cat Ready for Toilet Training? Here's 5 Ways You Can Tell
 by: Rebecca Rescate
At the end of a long day, who wants to sift through a messy litter box? Certainly not me. Up until now, the litter-box has been a necessary evil, a small price to pay for our beloved companions. But not anymore. In fact, there's an underground alternative designed for those of us who are ready to kick the litter habit: toilet training your cat.
Sounds complicated, right? Not at all. Although far from mainstream, cat toilet training is gaining momentum and cat owners across the country are beginning to embrace the trend. But before you toss that box in the trash, there's a few ways to tell if your cat is ready to take the leap into a litter-free lifestyle. Think Fluffy has what it takes? Read on.
1. Your cat is already litter-box trained.
OK, I know what you're thinking: "Of course my cat knows how to use the litter-box" But the simple fact is, cats that already know how to use the litter-box can be reconditioned to use the toilet instead. That's because cat toilet training utilizes your cat's natural instincts to bury their waste to hide their scent from predators. During the training process your cat will learn to put its waste in water instead of in litter. Once your cat makes this transition toilet training becomes a breeze and - voila! Your cat is successfully potty trained!
2. Your cat is eager to please you.
Does your cat love making you happy? Whether she leaves the occasional "gift" on your doorstep or offers a warm nuzzle while you're reading, cats who are eager to please are the purr-fect candidates for toilet training. After she learns that using the toilet pleases you, she'll be happy to oblige!
3. You have trained your cat to do something in the past.
Does your cat come when you call them? Believe it or not, simple actions like responding to a voice command can help lay the groundwork for the toilet training process. After all, if your kitty already knows how to "follow the leader", toilet training will be a breeze.
4. Your cat is healthy.
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but healthy cats have a much easier time jumping up onto their new throne. Illnesses like arthritis or urinary tract infections can affect their ability to learn how to use the toilet, so sick kitties should stick to the box.
5. You know your cat.
Can you tell when your feline friend is having a rough day? If you're like many pet owners, you're probably very in tune with your cat's feelings. This unique bond works as a positive force during the toilet training process. How? Cats will use body language to tell you if they are comfortable with a particular training step. When you pick up on these signals, both of you can work together to achieve a relaxed training pace. You'll both feel satisfied when you work as a team!
Want to read more? Check out to read how to successfully toilet train your cat with the CitiKitty Toilet Training Kit.

Yikes I Saw A Flea On My Dog

Yikes I Saw A Flea On My Dog
 by: Gary Allison
At some stage of your pet's lifespan every pet owner will have to deal with the problem of fleas, ticks and mites. If left untreated they can take over your pet's skin and coat so it is really important to keep it under control. It's best to stop the problem before it gets out of control. Rather treat your pet for a few fleas than treat the whole house for an infestation!
There are some misconceptions about fleas. It is not something that only happens to dirty animals! In fact it is probably more common in clean animals because fleas prefer a clean coat. Coming into contact with other animals also causes exposure to the problem and can start a flea problem in your home.
Fleas, mites and ticks are parasites with a short lifespan so they reproduce quickly. Female fleas can lay up to 25 eggs a day. So you can see just how quickly the problem can get out of hand! They tend to prefer warm conditions so summer and spring are the most troublesome times for pets and owners.
The main thing is that you want to catch the problem early! This means brushing your dog often and inspecting their coat. Fleas, ticks and mites are tiny black, brown crawling creatures that can even look like dirt. It may help for you to examine the fur under their ears and arms/legs. Fleas like warm places. You can also sea flea egg sacks and flea droppings in their fur if you look closely. If you still cannot see the fleas try combing your dog on a bright surface, something like a piece of paper should work well.
This is a problem that needs to be treated right away. Instead of heading for the pet store to buy expensive over-the-counter treatments, sprays or dips you should rather seek professional help right away. It will save you time. Your vet should have some pamphlets or handouts about flea control. Some vets even prescribe oral treatments if the problem is out severe.
If you choose to shop for the products yourself you will need to read the labels carefully to check that you are not inadvertently poisoning your pet! Never allow your pet to ingest any of the products you use; they are highly poisonous. It's also important to protect their eyes from these harsh chemicals. There is a lot of disagreement about whether or not flea collars work. They tend to kill fleas in a localized area around the collar.
It is important to treat your home for fleas as well. Fleas can survive in almost anything in your home-furniture, rugs and bedding. Any flea treatments will be pointless if the flea's eggs or fleas themselves remain in your living space.
To clean your home properly you will need to sanitize and clean the areas where the pet sleeps. Depending on the severity of the problem you may need to throw away blankets that have become infested with eggs. Often - just washing the affected bedding in hot water and some flea shampoo should do the trick. Rather safe than sorry though - if in doubt toss the bedding. Having to have your home fumigated will cost a lot more!
Fleas can become a nightmare for any pet owner. Rather stop the problem early - check your pet everyday for fleas and regularly use a preventative product approved by your vet.

How Can I Stop My Dog's Excessive Barking?

How Can I Stop My Dog's Excessive Barking?
 by: Armen T. Ghazarians
Is your dog's barking getting out of control? Does the barking get worse when you leave your home? Are your neighbors at their wit's end? Are you contemplating getting rid of your dog? Bark collars can stop barking dogs quickly, easily, and humanely. When used properly, the electronic bark collar can stop your dog's barking completely within a matter of few days.
Most electronic bark control collars employ sound as the basic stimulus because it is well established that animals learn more quickly and retain a better memory when the desired behavior is associated with a sound. The more advanced models progressively increase the sonic stimulus as barking persists. Some models employ gradually increasing electric shock stimulus along with the sound to stop even the most stubborn barkers in a humane manner.
The more sophisticated electronic bark collars sense the vibrations in a dog's throat that happen only during barking. By doing so, they prevent false corrections from other loud noises and from other dogs barking.
The drawback with some "barking dog collars" is that they may detect barking with a microphone and activate on sound; these can be set off by other noises or by another dog's bark. Some Barking Dog Collars use only vibration; these can be set off by motion or jostling.
Stay away from the following types of bark collars:
1) Bark Dog Collars the project a spray mist which startles and confuses the dog's olfactory senses, causing him to stop barking. These mists may cause allergic reactions and hypersensitivity in your dog.
2) Independent devices that have a built-in microphone tuned to the sound of your dog's bark. They emit a loud correction to startle the dog so he stops barking. They automatically stop and reset themselves after each auditory correction. The dog feels no correction with this type of bark stopper and can simply move away to another location further from the receiver and completely avoid the sound all together.
Look for a barking dog collar with the following features:
1) One that simultaneously senses both sound and vibration, and only uses a combination of sound and vibration to trigger the electronic correction. By having both of these features, the electronic bark collar will be activated only by the dog wearing the collar, so there won't be any "false corrections" caused by loud noises or other dogs barking.
2) One that automatically adjusts the level of static correction to your dog's temperament with different levels of self-adjustable corrections in response to the bark intensity of your dog. The more intensity settings will help to accommodate the most sensitive too the most stubborn dogs.
3) One that provides a warning beep with the first bark.
4) One with a rechargeable battery, which features a low battery indicator light.
5) One that features a quickfit buckle that provides a quick release.
6) One that is durable, light weight, waterproof, and adjustable.
7) One that comes with a complete operating guide and a video tape demonstration.
Used Properly, an electronic bark collar can be a humane alternative to giving away you dog.

Boxer Dogs: Clowns Not Guard Dogs

Boxer Dogs: Clowns Not Guard Dogs
 by: Dana Goldberg
Boxers have been traced to exist for over a hundred years now. They are said to have originated from Germany as the crossbreed between the Brabanter Bullenbesser (from Belgium) and the English Bulldog. Boxer dogs are known for their intelligence, hardiness, loyalty and its being family-oriented which makes it a great family pet. It is often commented that a family with a boxer is one that is filled with laughter and joy.
Boxer dogs have the natural tendency for learning new things and mental stimulation. It is widely recognized that bored boxer dogs make bad dogs. They need to be constantly trained, just like with other dogs.
Contrary to popular beliefs, boxer dogs are not guard dogs, they can be excellent watchdogs though as they will bark at any strangers if need be. However, they don't like isolation and are not naturally aggressive or viscous. Actually, the majority of boxers are known to not stand a time separated from their owners. They need continuous interaction with the family and are very affectionate to their owners. In fact, one of the most difficult training exercise for this breed is not to attack their own owners.
Because of their sturdiness and other "strong" physical features, they are mostly trained to become guard dogs. Sadly, many are left into abandonment due to their owner's dissatisfactions. In actuality, they cannot be easily trained for attack and they are abused for such.
Boxer dogs are overwhelmingly playful. On a poll survey conducted, dog owners described boxers as clowns, contradicting the aggressive portrayal widely accepted today. They are exuberant from day one to their senior years. Boxer dogs is an entertaining breed and always have the knack for making unique tricks like the "kidney beaning" and the "woo-woo". These two are often manifested when they are excited or overly happy (which is true in most cases).
Kidney beaning is a dance, which is characterized with a semi-circle turn then a turn for a full circle. On the other hand, "woo-woo" is a distinct sound they made which appeals like a bark but is actually not.
Boxer dogs have the personality that is unique in their breed, but this does not apply with all dog owners. They need to be constantly fed with physical and mental exercises to spend their high resource of body energies and add to it the attention they require. Boxer dogs are not known of sleeping the whole day away or go off 0on their own. If they are not sufficiently exercised, they may be very destructive, this they do to amuse themselves. For at least twice a day, they must be exercised or jogged.
One good way of providing worthwhile activities for boxer dogs is the obedience training. In fact, it is a must for all owners of this breed but to be sure, obedience training is both a win-win situation for both the owner and the dogs.
During training, it is not unusual to see stubborn boxers. Due to their intelligence, they tend not to listen to commands given to them. But above this, they are quick to learn and are eager for further learning.
A Boxer dog is an outdoor pet, nor can it tolerate extreme weather conditions. They have short coat and a short nasal cavity; both are not apt for cold weather and hot weather respectively. Additionally, these are lap dogs however large they get.

Cats And Pills - Tablets

Cats And Pills - Tablets
 by: Colin Visser
Nearly everything alive becomes ill at some stage in its life, and pets are no exception. I have been very fortunate in that my two cats have been very healthy for most of their lives. Recently the oldest cat become ill and had to go to the vet. Unfortunately she was diagnosed with a form of cancer. The treatment options were pills or radiation 'therapy'. The radiation therapy was very expensive so that left the pills. Pills are fine for humans, but if you have ever tried to administer pills to your cat then you would know some of the problems I have had.
I usually feed my cats on a dry 'all in one' biscuit diet. This diet and a supplement of fresh food has kept them very healthy for over 14years. But now I need to add pills to her diet every twelve hours. So what do I feed her that will hide the pill well enough for her to eat it without complaining? Well after some experimentation I came to the conclusion that hiding a whole pill was not the answer. Not the answer at all. Whole pills are located and removed from the food with amazing accuracy. The simple answer is to crush the pills before adding them to the food.
( Note : The pill should be added to a small quantity of food - half a normal serve or less, and that small quantity should be given to your pet BEFORE the rest of the meal. This helps to ensure your cat is hungry enough to eat the entire pill. Once the pill food is eaten you can give them the rest of the meal.)
Pills are usually quite easy to crush into powder, I use two spoons, one small teaspoon as the crusher, and a larger desert spoon to hold the pill. Place the pill into the larger spoon and using the edge of the small spoon as a blunt knife, carefully break the pill into smaller chunks. Now use the small teaspoon to gently crush the chunks into powder. In less than two minutes you should be ready to sprinkle the powdered pill onto a small serve of food. Crushing the pill gets much easier once you have done two or three.
This is how I prepare chicken or fish for my cat at pill time :
Chicken : Cooked (cold)
Cooked chicken is a favorite food of my cats so it is a good pill food for them. To make the most reliable pill hiding food from cold chicken is really quite easy. First of all you need to prepare the pill by crushing it into a powder as described above. Then you need a small serve of chicken that you can breakup into smallish pieces - use your fingers, it gives the best results. Once you have broken up the chicken add a small quantity of water to the serving plate and roll the chicken in the water until it is wet all over. Now drain the excess water from the plate - too much water will leave the pill on the plate and not on the food where it needs to be. The next step is optional, but it makes a big difference for my pets. The next step is to place the food in a microwave oven. All you want to do is VERY GENTLY warm up the food, I use about 6 SECONDS on high. What you are looking for is to remove the coldness of the food - which activates the SMELL of the food. Do not make !
the food hot! ( The heat could damage the pill that you are trying to feed them, and not many cats will eat hot food anyway.) Now that you have a very gently warmed serve of food it is time to add the pill. Just sprinkle the crushed pill over the wet, warm chicken and serve it up!
Note : Always add the Pill LAST!
Fish : Raw
If you want to use raw fish as a pill serving food then it pays to make sure that the cat in question likes the fish that you are going to use. ( Cats are fussy!) I have two cats, one eats fish at every opportunity, and the other will walk right past it and ask for something else..
So get a small piece of fish to test the cat with, and assuming that the fish is accepted it is easy to prepare. I use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut the fish into small pieces. A sharp knife is ok but the skin on fish is very tough, so for safety and ease of preparation I use scissors. Once you have the fish cut up all you need to do is sprinkle the powdered pill over the fish and serve it up. Raw fish is usually wet and quite smelly, so it doesn't require water to be added or the microwave to warm it up.
Fish : Cooked (cold)
To prepare a cooked cold fish you basically follow the steps outlined for cooked chicken. Prepare the pill, get a small bit of cooked fish and cut or break it up into small pieces. Make it wet, drain off the excess water and zap it in the microwave for a few seconds - do not make the food hot! Add the crushed pill to the warm wet fish and serve it up.
Note : Always add the Pill LAST!
The purpose of warming up the food is to make it smellier. Most food has a much stronger scent or smell when it is at room temperature than it does straight from the fridge.
If you need a small quantity of fresh raw fish it can usually be purchased from your local take away food shop. If you want to use cooked fish from a take away shop bear in mind that the batter or bread crumbs should be removed before it is served to the cat. (Well, it should be removed if your cat won't eat the fish with it still on there..) Also remember to cool the fish down to about room temperature before you add the pill - otherwise the heat may damage the pill.
Never microwave any pill - it could damage the active ingredients or even make them toxic to your pet.
For those that are interested, my cats name is "Eff-Gee" ( "F"+"G" ) and she can tell the time as well if not better than I can. Every 12 hours (+ or - 30mins) she is asking me for her pill food :-)
My other cat - that doesn't like fish, is called "Sox". He doesn't really like chicken either. Actually he prefers the biscuits over most other foods - unless it is meat with chili on it. He is a nice cat :-)

Introduction to Clownfish

Introduction to Clownfish
 by: Keith Quince
Clown fish are known technically as Anemonefishes. Anemonefishes are a subfamily of damselfish, in the pomacentridae family. There are 26 unique species of 'Clownfish', 25 of them being in the Amphiprion genus and only 1 in the Premnas genus. They are typically a small fish, mature males only growing anywhere from 2 to 5 inches in length.
Clownfish are only found in the tropical waters of the Indian or Pacific oceans, and the Red sea. These climits provide a suitable environment for enemonefishes due to their warm temperatures. Clownfish tend to be bottom dwellers, and most notably reside in inshore reefs, specifically inside sea anemones. The anemone provides protection for the Clownfish both by enabling the fish to hide, and with it's poisonus tenticles, keeping other fish away. There is no definite information why the Clownfish is not stung by the anemone, but many theories exist.
Prey or Preditor?
In nature a clownfish will attract it's pray by swiming around it's anemone and displaying it's bright colors. Once the victim, all the time thinking that he is the preditor, begins to aproach, the clownfish will recede into the anemone with his prey following closely behind. The sea anemone once in contact with the 'preditor' will sting, kill, and begin to eat the prey. This leaves the leftovers for the Clownfish to snack on. Other forms of food are planktonic crustaceans and algae that may develope on coral or nearby rocks. Anomenes themselves may provide food as the clownfish will pick at and consume dead tenticles.
This fish is a very good first choice for saltwater tanks, which is one of the reasons they have become so popular in the united states and parts of europe. Part of their suitability is found with anemonefishes having a very small territory; which is good for the small area offered in fish tanks. The substrate area of tank, meaning the area on the bottom of your tank adjusted for protruding rocks and sunken ships, is more important then the total volume of the tank. A 20 gallon tank would be considered the minimum recommended size for Clownfish. Living peaceably in your fish tank a Clownfish would require aprox. 14 hours of light and 10 hours of darness every day. These amounts may be adjusted and are only suggestions. Be carefull of high nitrate levels. Mature Clownfish can sometimes tollerate these levels, but the larva and babies will almost certainly not. Include a large variety of food when feeding Clownfish. Feedings should include live brine shrimp, frozen food, algae and the traditional flakes. Being that clownfish will have no preditors in a fish tank a sea anomone is not requird to protect them.
Many people believe anemonefishes will not breed without the presence of a sea anemone, but this is not the case. After some time, a particular spawning site will be chosen. This spawning site will remain the same throughout the life of the Clownfish pair. Clownfish will spawn all year round laying their eggs in large batches. In the wild eggs are normally laid on coral or rock that is near the anemone, though in your tank they may be laid anywhere. Once laid by the female, the male clownfish assumes the job of gaurding the eggs until they hatch, typically 4 or 5 days aftwards. When clownfish reach sexual maturity they will strike out on their own, searching for a vacant sea anomone. Clownfish may be expected to live around 3 to 5 years in captivity.

Winter Dog Agility Training

Winter Dog Agility Training
 by: Brad Carlson
Yes, its cold outside, but don't stop your dog's agility training. Depending on where you live, there might be snow on the ground from November through March, but thats no reason to give up your agility training. Bring your training indoors, right at your own home.
Get creative with your training locations. Do you have a hallway, basement, or garage? Then you have a place to train! Before it snows and your equipment is frozen to the ground, store some in your garage, shed, basement, or put a tarp over it. Bring in one piece of equipment at a time, and begin your indoor training.
We do a lot of indoor training with a Pause Table. In fact, we keep one in our living room for both obedience training and agility training all the time. The Pause Table is a great obstacle for developing your obedience behaviors and teaching agility directional commands
Don't forget to work on your contacts. It's easy by having a Contact Trainer indoors. A 3-Piece Contact Trainer offers you versatility; you have an A-frame side, the Pause Table, and a Dog-walk plank. Practicing your two feet on and two feet off is convenient and quick when you have indoor contacts, only a few minutes a day to steady your dog's behavior.
Indoor jumping must be approached carefully. If you don't have indoor matting, don't jump. You don't want your dog jumping on concrete or wood floors. But you can use the uprights or posts to practice your handling. Use your Sit-stay or Down-stay and practice your lines or dogs path with no jump bars.
Weaves can be practice indoors. Are you training with a weave-chute or straight line weaves? Five minutes a day of weave training through out the winter will have your dog weaving smoothly by springtime. You can practice weave entries and weave sends or weave recalls.
There is also a variety of mini agility equipment that can be purchased, and don't require the same space as standard equipment. There are mini-teeters, mini-dog walks, and mini-A-frames. These are great obstacles for puppy training or indoor winter training.
So, during the cold winter months, don't give up on your agility training. Whether you are starting a young pup, working a novice dog, or an experienced titled dog there is always something that you can do indoors with your agility training.

Adopting A Dog

Adopting A Dog
 by: Andrew Strachan
If you have been thinking of getting a new dog, have you considered all the options available to you? The obvious choice people make, when considering a new dog is to go to a specialized dog breeder. A good dog breeder will be able to sell you a puppy that has been checked for genetic problems, diseases etc and will very often provide you with a high quality pedigree dog that should be free from problems that plague a lot of dogs.
This is ideal for a lot of people but of course will come at a price. There is an alternative - adopting a puppy or adult dog.
There are lots of dogs that are without homes at animal shelters or humane societies. These animals are often a victim of circumstance. Either an owner has died, or an elderly person cannot cope any more. Sadly through no fault of their own, they have ended up homeless. Adopting a dog, may be a great way to offer a loving home to one of these dogs.
A lot of people are concerned that they may end up with an unhealthy dog, or a dog that may be aggressive by getting one from a shelter. Most animal shelters will check a dog for good health and good temperament, so if there are any problems you will be told about them. Also, a lot of shelters offer in-house training to increase the chances of a dog finding a new home. Which is great for everybody!
The best way to go about adopting a dog is to pay a visit to your nearest animal shelter. Explain to the staff there, what kind of dog would suit you and your family. Bear in mind that if you have very small children, getting a large dog may not be a good idea. Similarly if you have an apartment, maybe think about getting a small dog that doesn't require vast amounts of exercise. A bit of forethought before you arrive will make finding the perfect dog for you that much easier.
When you bring your new dog home, try and imagine things from her perspective. Your new dog has probably been through a lot in the past so bringing her to yet another new home may well be overwhelming. The best thing to do is keep her on a leash at first, and gradually introduce her to your home letting her sniff each room until she has got a feel for her new surroundings. Also take her to relieve her bladder outside if she has been on a long car journey with you.
Once she has settled down, allow her to walk freely off the leash inside your home (not outside off the leash yet). This will give her a chance to find 'her' spot. By this I mean her favorite place. We all have a favorite spot where we like to go, dogs are no different. If you have bought a new dog bed or blanket for your new arrival, this may be the place to put it. She will naturally go to that spot so having a comfy new bed there will help her settle in.
Your new dog may be very quiet for the first few days but don't worry, this is part of the settling in process. After a short while your dog will be a fully settled in new member of the family.
Adopting from an animal shelter is a great way to get a new companion and a great way to make a new and happy future for your dog.

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Skin and Gill Flukes in Tropical Fish

Skin and Gill Flukes in Tropical Fish
 by: Nate Jamieson
While parasites of various types are often responsible for fish rubbing themselves against objects in the tank, sometimes to the point of causing raw skin, it can be difficult to identify which parasite it is, unless you have a very good visual of it.
In the case of skin fluke, which is a parasitic flatworm, they are unlikely to show themselves to the extent where you would be able to remove them manually as you can with leeches or fish lice. One of the common denominators they have with other parasite infections, is they can cause redness of skin, but so can rubbing against stones and wood. However, skin fluke also causes a fading of color, and because the treatment is common to other types of parasites, you are best to go with a general medication, such as Droncit or formalin baths, when unsure whether it is skin fluke or not. Remove severely affected fish to a hospital tank.
The standard treatments of adding 1 tbs. of aquarium salt to a daily change of water in the home aquarium, and raising the tank temperature by four degrees also applies. This is used for most parasites, including gill fluke, which has more obvious and visual symptoms.
Gill fluke is a worm that specifically attacks the gill membranes, causing them to turn red and acquire a coating of slime that makes it difficult to breathe. Fish will hang at the water's surface, gasp, and lose weight rapidly. The same tank treatments as skin fluke can be used, but with gill fluke, removing to a hospital tank and adding short baths in either formalin, salt or ammonium hydroxide to the regimen will help kill what is on the fish, and you can then treat their environment.

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Dog Worming

Dog Worming
 by: John Moore
Regular worming is essential to protect your dog against internal parasites. This involves giving it preparations in liquid or tablet form. Adult dogs should be wormed at least once a year, and at least once every six months if in contact with children. Dogs showing any signs of infection should be wormed immediately and all breeding bitches should be wormed prior to mating.
Several of these parasites affect dogs but the most important are the ones that belong to the Ascarid family, and live in the small intestine. Other roundworms infest the large intestine, blood vessels and respiratory tract.
Ascarids feed on digesting food in the dog's gut, and are particularly harmful to puppies. They penetrate a puppies gut wall and pass via the blood to the liver and then to the lungs. From there they crawl up the trachea to be coughed up and swallowed, again ending up in the gut. Infected puppies may develop :-
Hepatitis, pneumonia, fits, and obstruction to the gut, so regular treatment is vital.
As the puppy gets older most of the worms travel to the muscles, where they form cysts. These lie dormant until the puppy bitch becomes pregnant. They then migrate to the puppies lungs, and this is why virtually every puppy is born with roundworm, and must be wormed regularly.
How Roundworms Affect Humans.
These worms can infect humans, and in a very low number of cases, cause disease. Good hygiene and common sense concerning children and puppies should control the problem.
The tapeworm tickle the dog's anus and make the dog drag it's rear end along the floor. If you see any worm segments in your dog's faeces, treat it as soon as possible.
As a dog lover myself, I treat my own pets at least twice a year. Worming tablets can be bought cheaply at your local supermarket or petshop, so there's no excuse for not treating your own pet on a regular basis.
Thank you for reading my article. I do hope it's been enjoyable.

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